At this stage in your studies of business and leadership, what type of leader are you? And how ready are you to lead others? Watch the following podcast about the experience of being managed and led by others.


My Vision on Leadership

My Vision is to achieve the position of a transformational leader in a world class organization and create a culture where ideas and innovations are valued.  The qualities of a transformational leader have always inspired me to be an individual with strong determination and focus. Autobiographies of eminent scholars like Steve Jobs and Thomas J Watson have helped me to understand the attributes that define transformational leaders. These leaders have inspired their followers to be morale and to take great ownership for their work. Moreover, they have the charismatic influence over their followers to achieve an organizations objective within a time period.

“The way to succeed is to double your failure rate”. Thomas J Watson – Innovator & IBM Founder believed the more your fail, the more likely you are to succeed.


One such personality whom I have admired the most is Thomas J Watson, the founder of IBM Technologies. He was a pioneer in the development of accounting and computing equipment used today by government and industry. He started his career at the age of 18 as a book keeper in Clarence Risley’s Market in NewYork. Before joining the National Cash Register (NCR) Company as a salesman, he used to sell sewing machines and musical instruments. With a never give up attitude and commitment, he eventually worked his way out to be a general sales manager. Mr. Watson had introduced the motto “THINK” to inspire the dispirited NCR sales force, which later became a symbol of IBM. While addressing the biennial conference in Berlin, Mr. Watson had stated the conference keynote to be “World Peace through World Trade” which later became the slogan of IBM. He worked closely with the International Chamber and was elected as its president in 1937. Mr. Watson holds honorary degrees from 27 colleges and universities in the United States and four abroad (IBM, 2014).


In today’s competitive environment, individuals’ passion and purpose towards work must be greater than their challenges. In order to lead as a successful leader, an individual should have the willingness to work harder, learn more, acquire more knowledge, lead better, practice longer and love deeper, and this requires passion (JonGordon, 2014). A research conducted by Ken Blanchard Companies had revealed that Strategic Leadership indirectly influence Customer Devotion and Employee Work Passion by enforcing procedures, policies, visions and values. Also it was found that Employee Work Passion was a key factor in creating Customer Devotion and Organisational Vitality. Further, the research surfaced eight key factors responsible for driving Employee Work Passion and these includes Fairness, Recognition, Autonomy, Meaningful Work, Growth, Connectedness to colleagues and Connectedness to Leaders (KenBlanchard, 2011).


Adair’s Model of Leaders ship explains how a leader can lead the lives of many through a three circle approach. Adair found that effective leaders focus on three areas of need for members of the team. Task needs include setting of organizational goals and objectives and management process. Team needs include eliminating the differences and similarities between the team members through support, effective interaction, shared work and communication. Individual needs vary from person to person based on their emotions and feeling. However, it is a good approach for the leaders to understand the nature and complexity of human relations (ManageTrainLearn, 2011).

The module “Leading in a Changing World” has inspired me to explore the leadership qualities within me and has taught me on how to exploit these qualities effectively in the practical world. The knowledge casts and group activities have moulded my interpersonal skills, enhanced my knowledge on different aspects of leadership and changed my outlook about leadership responsibilities at a work place.  I believe the training sessions and workshops conducted by the staffs has created an awareness about my strengths and weaknesses, the qualities I need to acquire to lead a team in future and the areas I need to improve to implement a leadership act in an organization. The organizational environment created by my staffs has helped to measure my managerial capabilities in terms of morale and passion towards work. Moreover, it is a platform to improve my individual effectiveness, Communication, Social Networking, Time Management, Accuracy and Productivity.

Thus, in accordance to the feedback I received from my peers and team leader, I represent the characteristics of a transformational leader, since I have the ability to connect with people, to critically evaluate a problem and to convey a clear vision. My colleagues and staffs portray me as an individual who posses Innovation, Creativity, Confident, Never give up attitude and Excellent communication and presentation skills. However, the above explained characteristics will help me to perform an activity within a group but will not help me to lead a group. In future, I would like to posses the traits of a situational leader so as to enforce an effective leadership within a group activity. With the combination of these two leadership qualities I will create a collaborative work force initially by defining a sense of direction for each staff, promoting communication skills through interactive sessions, encouraging and acknowledging staff’s needs and requirements and assigning tasks according to their potentiality. As a result of this formation, I expect to improve the relationship between a leader and a subordinate by eliminating the differences between them and respecting each other’s values and ideas.



[1]   IBM. (2014) Thomas J. Watson; [online] available from <>; [Accessed: 09 May 2014]

[2]   JonGordon. (2014) Definition of diverse teams; [online] available from < > [Accessed: 09 May 2014]

[3]   KenBlanchard. (2011) Employee Work Passion; [online] available from < > p.26 [Accessed: 09 May 2014]

[4]   ManageTrainLearn. (2011) Models of Management: Adair’s Three Circles ; [online] available from < > [Accessed: 12 May 2014]

By Vijay Sabarish


Ethical leadership, defining it as “the demonstration of normatively appropriate conduct through personal actions and interpersonal relationships, and the promotion of such conduct to followers through two-way communication, reinforcement and decision-making”… [and] the evidence suggests that ethical leader behaviour can have important positive effects on both individual and organizational effectiveness (Rubin et al 2010: 216-17).


 “Leaders spend most of their time learning how to do their work and helping other people learn how to do theirs, yet in the end, it is the quality and character of the leader that determine the performance and results”. – Frances HesselBein

Ethics is a combination of moral principle and code of conduct that governs the behavioural instincts in an individual to do a right or wrong. Ethical management is related to the requirement that fulfils not only economic goals and legal responsibilities of an organisation but also meets the ethical expectations enforced by social norms in conducting business.


An ethical aspect of Bill Gates Leadership is “Humanity’s greatest advances are not its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied are applied to reduce inequity”. Bill Gates who is a predominant and a manipulative leader had clutched on to certain ethical policies which had created a culture of innovation and commitment among the employees in Microsoft. The inspiration and motivational programs conducted by Bill Gates had made the bond between the employees and the management stronger, empowering them with all the information they had to know (Alireza, 2014).


As Brown stated in his theory of conceptualization of ethical leadership, the three building blocks of ethical leaders are being an ethical example, treating people fairly and actively managing morality (Brown, 2005). Kraft Foods Group Inc has set 10 ground rules of ethical behaviour to ensure no misuse of corporate power. The introduction of this Kraft code of ethics had suggested that employees should let values guide their action in all cases. The 10 rules are: Market responsibly; treat people fairly; compete fairy; respect the environment; Make food that is safe to eat;  keep honest books and records; deal honesty with the government; respect the free market;  never trade on inside information; give Kraft Foods your complete business loyalty (Lisa Magloff-Chron, 2014).

Ethical Models can help business leaders to decide whether they are considering a legitimate approach and exhort directors and managers to operate in an ethical manner. Decision making tools like Decision Tree, Seven Step Method and Vroom-Yetton-Jago Decision Model can be used as a tool to practice ethics in an organization. Using these models, the leaders of the company can decide whether. 1) “The proposed action is against law or not”, 2) “If the proposed action is accepted by the law and community, will it maximize the share holders’ value or not” (Mindtools, 2014).



Gerber Products, Inc., the well-known baby products company, was using phthalates in the baby products until the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) was spurred by the media to inspect the content of the product. Gerber had used the decision tree analysis to decide whether the company had to continue the usage of phthalates. From the analysis it was understood that if the company continues the illegal usage of phthalates, the company’s sales will be adversely affected due to the sensationalistic nature of the press coverage. Thus, this model had helped Gerber to save company’s goodwill from the face of the media and public (GBR, 1999).

Why is ethics important in an organization?

Ethics is a set of principles that directs an organization in its programs, policies and decisions for the business. Organizations which have adapted an ethical philosophy could improve their productivity, reputation and bottom line of the business. The ethics are differentiated in terms of leadership ethics and employee ethics. Leadership Ethics: The ethics followed by the leaders in an organization may have an effect on the morale and integrity of workers. Leaders have set high ethical standards which encourage the workers in an organization to meet at the same level and also enhance the company’s reputation in financial market and community (Luanne Kelchne-Chron, 2014). The characteristics that an ethical leader should posses are 1) Dignity and Respectfulness 2) Serving others 3) Justice 4) Community Building and Honesty (MSG, 2014). Employee Ethics: Employees who use ethics as a guide for better prospects will ensure an organization to complete work with honesty and integrity. This guide can help an employee to meet standards for quality in their work, which can enhance the company’s reputation for quality products and services (Luanne Kelchne-Chron, 2014).


Ethics makes an individual a better person by Trusting Relationships: Gaining the trust of co-workers and managers at work places will help to enhance productivity and an opportunity to take up new responsibilities, possibly leading to promotion and pay raises. Team Cohesiveness: Committed to be a better team player by making positive contributions in a group setting and never hinder a group activity. Value to Employers: Gaining the trust of top managers and business owners by following ethical policies and using ethical reasoning while making company decisions. Personal Wellness: Using ethical code to guide all actions, to gain emotional stability, job satisfaction and cultivating last friendship (David Ingram-Chron, 2014).


Ethical Leader plays an important role in leading the lives of many through the paths of integrity and commitment. An ethical leader provides a direction for the organisation to fulfil its mission and achieve its goals. One such ethical leader who excelled himself to the top was Jim Skinner, CEO of McDonald’s. Jim Skinner had started his career in McDonalds as a Manager after his 10 years of service in the US Navy.  As a reward to his hard work and focus on customers, Jim had received awards like “Executive of the Year” and “Most Respected CEO”. The company chief who turned his collar from blue to white had to go through a lot of hardships and commitments. In 2004, Jim Skinner had worked his way out to be the CEO of McDonalds and led the company to a 40% earnings bump in four years. At present he is on a mission to steer McDonalds towards healthier food options for kids and programs like National Hiring Day, which saw much needed jobs offered to 60,000 Americans (OnlineMBA, 2012).

Thus, I strongly believe that an ethical behaviour when practised in an organization could produce a number of followers with increased dedication, productivity, responsibility, effectiveness, job satisfaction and problem reporting. An ethical leader with true strength and courage will help the organization to reduce the unethical behavioural practices and maximize benefits through enforced ethical policies. Leaders use ethical code policies as an instrument in encouraging ethical behaviour and to eliminate the differences between their subordinates. Moreover, a Leader has the privilege to exploit the punishment systems when an employee performs an unethical act of conduct within an organization.


[1]    OnlineMBA. (2012) 10 Most Ethical CEOs in Corporate America; [online] available from <;; [Accessed: 12 May 2014]

[2]    Lisa Magloff-Chron. (2014) Examples of a Code of Ethics for Business; [online] available from <> [Accessed: 12 May 2014]

[3]    MSG. (2014) Leadership Ethics – Traits of an Ethical Leader [online] available from <> [Accessed: 12 May 2014]

[4]    David Ingram-Chron. (2014) How Do Ethics Make You a Better Person in the Workplace?; [online] available from <> [Accessed: 12 May 2014]

[5]    Brown. (2005) Who Displays Ethical Leadership and Why Does it Matter? An Examination of Antecedents and Consequences of Ethical Leadership; [online] available from <,%20Aquino,%20Greenbaum,%20&%20Kuenzi.pdf > [Accessed: 12 May 2014]

[6]    Alireza. (2014) Human Capital Management ; [online] available from <> [Accessed: 12 May 2014]

[7]    GBR. (1999) How Gerber Used a Decision Tree in Strategic Decision-Making; [online] available from < [Accessed: 12 May 2014]

[8]    Mindtools. (2014) Decision-Making Techniques; [online] available from <> [Accessed: 12 May 2014]

[9]   Luanne Kelchne-Chron. (2014) The Importance of Ethics in Organizations [online] available from <> [Accessed: 12 May 2014]

By Vijay Sabarish


Change is nothing new and a simple fact of life. Some people actively thrive on new challenges and constant change, while others prefer the comfort of the status quo and strongly resist any change. It is all down to the personality of the individual and there is little management can do about resistance to change (Mullins 2010: 753). 


 Change is an inevitable factor which occurs at different phases in a human life cycle. It plays an important role in organisational and social life style of an individual, where they are vulnerable to the continual changes taking place from time to time. Change management is a systematic approach of planning and restructuring an organisational hierarchy and dealing with individuals who are affected by these changes (Change-Management, 2013).


An organization is structured on the basis of organisational constructs which have the ability to adhere or derail an organisational change. An organisational construct can be used to define the organisational hierarchy (who is charge, who reports to who) which derives a set of responsibilities formed at different management levels, roles assigned at each level and levels of authority (Daptiv, 2013).


As Henry Mintzberg had suggested in his article on “Organisational Structure”, the organisations can be demarcated on the basis 3 basic dimensions. 1) “The Key” part of the organisation which plays a major role in defining success or failure. 2) “The Prime Coordination” an important method which is used to coordinate activities within an organization. 3) “The type of decentralisation” an extent to which the organisation involves sub-ordinates in a decision making process. Using these three dimensions, Mintzberg suggests that if an organisation adopts and utilizes that strategy efficiently it may result in five structural configurations: simple structure, machine bureaucracy, professional, bureaucracy, divisionalized and adhocracy (National Forum, 2012).

In today’s world, many organisations are faced with challenges that force them to amend or adjust in a complex environment (Burnes, 2004). Developing organisations will undergo through change process, when having to respond to a situation where a new development occurs or as a part of the restructuring process or space expansion. Most of the organizational managers believe that change has turned to be a constant phenomenon which has to be managed and addressed properly for the survival of an organisation. Organisations have to move according to the changes happening in the real world, these changes can be related to technology, the market place, workforce, social values, global economy, demographics, information systems, diverse products and services. This change is applicable for the managers in an organisation as well.

Kurt Lewin’s theory states that change management can be a devastating situation if the managers do not process a procedure to guide all the subordinates through the new changes. In order to avoid such experience and an alternative for change management plan, Kurt Lewin’s had proposed three stages: Unfreezing, Change and Freezing. 1) Unfreezing: According to Kurt, the management should analyse and critically evaluate the need for change. From a stake holder’s point of view, the organisation should have the answers for these questions. What are the benefits for your employees and managers and how it is going to enhance the social performance management system of an organisation? 2) Change: According to Lewin there are two driving forces which influence the change in a person’s motivation – Driving forces and restraining forces. Driving force is a positive change which determines the attitude of an employee towards his professions, on how keen he is to be recognized for his contributions. Restraining force is a negative force which derives the inefficiency of an employee due to lack of knowledge on the latest trends. 3) Freezing:  When changes are taking shape in its own space and people have embraced the new ways of working, the organization is ready to refreeze (MBS Portal, 2010)


Another alternative to avoid a devastating situation is to hire Change Agents. Change Agents can act as catalyst to trigger growth in an organisation. However, these roles are invariably exaggerated one-dimensional models that ignore the full complexity and scope of change agent roles. In order to justify his theory, Raymond Caldwell had proposed a fourfold model, a new fourfold classification developed for change agents which covers leadership, management, consultancy and team models. These four models reaffirm the significance of multifaceted and complex roles change agents perform in a corporate transformation (Caldwell, 2001).

From the research case studies and the above explained factors, it is clearly evident that employees resist changing due to their fear to take up an initiative or they do not exactly know what to do.  This resistance can be appropriately considered as a feedback form from the individuals who lacks knowledge about their work and company’s daily operations. It is advisable for the management to acknowledge the employees explaining why the changes were essential for the company. These resistances can serve as valuable information’s that can be used as an aid for gathering ideas, executing initiative changes and improving the communication gap between the firm and employees.


JC Penney (JCP) is one of the organisations who had introduced a decentralized structure which affected the workplace culture and the lives and morale of the employees working in it. As a part of the restructuring program, the company had successfully implemented a transformational change through Ullman and Theilmann (newly appointed CEO and HR  Chief of JC Penny), which not only enhanced the profits but also improved the lives of many by having them work/ “engaged” in a friendly environment. The strategy behind this improvement was the implementation of Lewin’s 3 Phase theories of Unfreezing, Movement and Refreezing. “Just Call Me Mike” campaign had changed the level of discrimination between the managers and subordinates. Also the firing of COO-Catherine West by Ullman was a message to all the employees that the power is not in the hands of few people (Academia, 2014).

I personally agree to the opinion that a strong leader should step up and engage to meet the challenging situations and amend changes based on the employee’s needs and requirements. Management should analyse the reasons which hinders an organisation from increasing profits and development and deploy an organisational change to improve the relationship between the management and employees.


[1]    Academia. (2014) JC Penney and Organisational Change: The Lewin; [online] available from <>; [Accessed: 08 May 2014]

[2]    Daptiv. (2013) Organizational Change Management – Part 2: How Does Change Impact Individuals?; [online] available from <> [Accessed: 08 May 2014]

[3]    Change-Management. (2013) Definition Of Change Management [online] available from < > [Accessed: 08 May 2014]

[4]    National Forum. (2012) Organizational Structure: Mintzberg’s Framework; [online] available from <>[Accessed: 08 May 2014]

[5]    MBS Portal. (2010) Kurt Lewin; [online] available from < >[Accessed: 08 May 2014]

[6]    Gladwell. (2001), ‘Models of Change Agency: a Fourfold classification’, London: British Journal of Management, vol. 14, pp. 131-142

By Vijay Sabarish


Which personal style should managers adopt to ensure success? What is the most effective approach to managing the work of subordinates? These questions have been extensively researched and debated over the last century, and while the general consensus has moved away from ‘command and control’ to management and leadership towards more consultative and participative approaches, there is no single ideal, as the best approach may vary according to circumstances and individual characteristics (CMI 2013). 


During the initial period of industrialization, most of the organisations have introduced a demarcation between the roles assigned to Managers and Leaders. According to Peter Drucker, an individual who possess a leadership quality will make sure to do the right thing, while an individual who possess a managerial quality will make sure that the management is doing things right. Sometimes in a leadership industry, confusion occurs while understanding the relationships between a leader and a manager. In order to achieve excellence in these fields, we need to understand the essence of difference between them. This is a matter of understanding how the roles are different and how might they overlap. However, it is understood that Leadership and Management should go hand in hand for attaining better prospects in future (The Wall Street Journal, 2010).


Warren Bennis, an American Scholar, widely regarded as a pioneer of modern field of leadership studies has composed a list of differences between roles of a manager and leader. If the Manager administers – Leader innovates; Manager is a copy-Leader is an original; Manager Focuses on system and structure – Leader focuses on people. Perhaps there was a time in the past were the managers and leaders were easily separated. A foreman who acts as a manager in an industrial sector didn’t have to put a lot of thought about the production of stocks or the team who was producing it. His role was to assign the tasks efficiently to the right people, organize the work and ensure the job gets done on time (The Wall Street Journal, 2014).


The late management guru Drucker has framed the concept in a different manner. In the current economy, where the knowledge is valued and workers are no longer considered as industrial cogs/machines, management and leadership cannot be easily identified or separated. People expect their managers to define the purpose of their task before assigning a job to them, while it is a manager’s responsibility to enhance and nurture the extraordinary skills in an employee rather than utilizing them as an instrumental tool to maximize company’s profits (Forbes, 2014).

Management is a talent acquired by managers to get things done through the effort of others. Peter Drucker has explained about the tasks of a management through a 5 step process. 1) Setting Objectives: The manager sets goals and designs a plan for a group which describes the work that has to be enforced to meet those goals. 2) Organizes: The manager divides and assigns different tasks to group and selects a set of individuals to accomplish the tasks that need to be done. 3) Motivates and Communicates: The manager tries to create a synergy within a team through motivational activities like promotions, perks, bonus, placements and through his communication with the team. 4) Measures: The manager sets up a target system to monitor the performance and appraisal system. 5) Develops People: The manager believes that the people are the valued assets of an organisation and it is the responsibility of a manager to value their knowledge and develop that asset (The Wall Street Journal, 2010).


Daniel Goleman an author and science journalist who wrote for New York Times depicts leadership role as an “Emotional Intelligence” described in different styles. The basic fundamental role of a leader is to define the organisational goal, devise plans and assign it to people to achieve the goals through execution of plans (Business Balls, 2014). The leadership role is illustrated on a 3-Dimensional basis. 1) Vision:A Leader has to define and state the reason of a purpose-What to do? A vision helps a leader to determine a new product or a feature, exploring new markets and acquiring information on the latest trends in technology.  2) Strategy:  A leader has to structure a strategy to achieve the target goals- How to achieve the mission? Strategies or plans explicate the skill efficiency in a leader. It also includes product management and restructuring organization. 3) People: Who should carry out the strategy?”A leader should motivate the skills in an employee through inspiration, promotion, communication and establishing a good relationship. Using the power and position of a leadership, leaders can accomplish their goals by exploiting the employee’s skills and effort to the fullest. Moreover, a good leadership depends on the efficiency of a leader to make a wise decision (Practical Management, 2009).

Based on the human nature of every individual, internal and external factors can also highly influence a person to change or develop an action. According to Mayo’s theory an internal factor may be the desire to learn about a new skill or technology and an external factor could be an individual’s mind to achieve sales targets and incentives. Mayo suggested that maximizing profits through repeated tasks could lead an individual to lose his interest over the job and reduce motivation. Mayo believed that motivation was improved through inspiration and communication which makes an employee feel important, giving them a 360 degree of freedom to make choices and valuing their needs and requirements (Business Case Studies, 2009).

Tesco had practiced Mayo theory throughout the company to promote motivation within employees. Tesco had realized that Communication was a key factor in motivating employees. The company used to promote communication skills through 1-1 discussion with managers, through company intranet or newsletters. Tesco also had promoted motivation through activities like training and development opportunities which helps to provide better career opportunities for the staffs (Business Case Studies, 2009).

Workplace environment is also an influential factor which can even redefine the manager’s role in an organization. Applying contingency theory Lawrence and Lorsch (1967) had developed an open system to measure the immediate changes in the work place environment of an organisation.  This theory had monitored the changes in a manager when the differentiation and integration factors become increasingly unfavourable in an unpredicted external environment. Factors such as communications and composition of work force (age, sex, education, tenure) may reflect in a manager’s work if he/she is not able to withstand an unstable environment (Lawrence, 2010).

The models that were developed to outline the facts of managerial roles were inadequate to address the complete scope of the role and the factors behind the success of managers. These models may vary from person to person depending upon the individual’s character, cultural habits, circumstances and values. An organisation cannot adapt a single model to overcome every situation. Hence a robust model is to be developed to perform appropriate selection and to enforce a training system to extract global managerial talents. In contrast to contingency theory, Hersey and Blanchard had developed Situational leadership style, where managers can adapt different leadership styles to produce better results (Hersey & Blanchard, 2009).


Situational leadership style conveys that managers will not be able to survive with a single leadership style and should adapt alternatives to complete a given task with full potential. This theory helps the managers to understand the maturity of the followers and amend the leadership styles in terms of their readiness to perform a task.  This model emphasize on 4 leader ship styles namely – Delegating style, Participating style, Selling style and Telling style (Learning Domain, 2006).

Although this model encourages managers to adapt different leadership styles based on the situation or the task given to them, the explanation given on the way the other cultures communicate is still vague.

Hence I personally believe that today’s managers should encourage and accept innovative ideas from young talented individuals. They should be inspired through motivational activities which will make them to feel important by all aspects. A collaborative work force is to be created to join the hands of individuals from different culture, education, age and tenure and engage them in a competitive task. A manager should be highly driven by motivation and communication to understand and value the social needs of an employee.



[1]    The Wall Street Journal. (2014) What is the Difference Between Management and Leadership? [online] available from <>; [Accessed: 07 May 2014]

[2]    The Wall Street Journal. (2010) What do Managers do?; [online] available from <> [Accessed: 07 May 2014]

[3]    Forbes. (2014) Peter Drucker On Leadership [online] available from <> p.26 [Accessed: 07 May 2014]

[4]    Business Balls. (2014) Emotional Intelligence (EQ) [online] available from <> [Accessed: 07 May 2014]

[5]    Practical Management. (2009) Role of an Organizational Leader; [online] available from <> [Accessed: 07 May 2014]

[6]     Business Case Studies (2009), Motivational theory in practice at Tesco, [online] available from                 < >[Accessed: 07 May 2014]

[7]    Lawrence. (2010) “Differentiation and Integration in Complex Organizations” Administrative Science Quarterly 12, (1967), 1-30; [online] available from < > [Accessed: 07 May 2014]

[8]    Hersey & Blanchard. (2009) “Differentiation and Integration in Complex Organizations” Administrative Science Quarterly 12, (1967), 1-30; [online] available from < > [Accessed: 07 May 2014]

[9]    Learning Domain. (2006) A leader lives in each of us; [online] available from <> [Accessed: 07 May 2014]

By Vijay Sabarish


Research has consistently shown that diverse teams produce better results, provided they are well led. The ability to bring together people from different backgrounds, disciplines, cultures, and generations and leverage all they have to offer, therefore, is a must-have for leaders (Ibarra and Hansen 2011: 71).



I believe managing a diverse team is the most important skill to be considered by managers in any industry because the term “Diversity” is of high importance while working globally; it ensures working individuals to have a global mindset and a long term cultural agility/awareness at their work place. Diversity can be based on various characteristics such as Age, Gender, Ethnicity/Race or Nationality and also it can be considered from the cognitive perspective such as international experience, work, industry and education (Chron, 2014).


Diversity can be seen as either a balancing tendency for homogeneous groups to think alike or the combination of different views to form a decision will have a better outcome than a single view, which shows the synergy of working with diverse groups. However, diverse teams can also experience barriers or limitations based on their differences. One such difference is the communication gap between individuals; this difference can cost the team their time and effort in understanding the situation or outcome and raises the transaction cost. Most of the case studies presume that a global mindset, often defined as honesty and global knowledge, is a key to executives and organisations succeeding in a highly interlinked world.

144960_254x191Derek Sivers founder and former President of CD baby proposes a striking argument on Cultural Diversity through his TED Talk: Weird or just different? Derek explains how different cultures have an impact on people’s daily life. He supports his judgement using the metric system as an example. The metric system that is followed in the U.S.A may not be the same in different countries. It is the human nature that makes us all to be judgemental when the situation is not favourable and we think of it as weird or wrong. Different countries may have adopted different metric system, which makes them unique from others and it should be respected as it is (TED, 2014; Tedex Project,2010).

Another example which Derek has emphasized about the difference in culture is by giving an example of naming of streets and blocks. In America the streets have names where as the blocks do not have but in Japan the blocks are numbered and streets are not. If a person travels from America to Japan and asks for a street name which does not exists, would place that person in a state of confusion because in reality it is known that there are only block numbers in Japan instead of street names (Tedex Project, 2010).

What does an organization expect from a Manager or a Leader?


Mintzberg theory describes that an organisation expects a manager to exercise interpersonal and decision making skills to understand the varied cultures of teams spread across a global horizon. Managers and team members need to perceive and act according to the cultural changes, which will help them to choose the right strategy and avoid situations of single-culture based approaches in a multicultural environment (Thomas, 2004).

Hofstede’s Cultural theory focuses on how society’s culture is influenced by factors such as Power:The degree of power is evenly distributed to the people in living in societies depending upon their social status in that society. Individualism: This reflects an individual’s responsibility towards family and society. Uncertainty: The degree to which the members of the society feel uncomfortable due to uncertainty and ambiguity (Geert, 2014).

How might a manager use the knowledge of diversity to produce better results?

Jaie Philips the general manager of Canterra Suites Executive Hotel says that “Around here the general manager’s is no more important than the house man’s –just different. We run this hotel as a Team. And our team spirit comes from acknowledging, accepting and respecting our individual differences”. Canterra’s 13- person which includes a multi-general work force of both men and women different nations (Canada, Philippines, Trinard and Portugal); possessed an array of diversity which included people who speak different languages, culture and religious views. Among the staff members, one was not able to read, another had autism, and another is a gay. Each individual were assigned roles based on their potentiality and the outcome was successful (Human Resource Strategies, 2008).

One of the important aspects of diversity which Canterra came across was “Language”, some of the hotel guests may not be able to communicate in English and employers often act as translators. Phillips says that by encouraging people to speak and listening to their needs and requirements, he is able to run a profitable business without any difficulty. As a result of applying this strategy, the hotel had received many awards based on their service and an honorary award from the Alberta Chamber of Commerce for diversity leadership (Human Resource Strategies, 2008).

Thus, I strongly hold to the belief that diverse teams when led positively and effectively can produce outstanding results. It is a challenging task for Global leaders to produce a diverse team which can be used as a tool to maximize the benefits of an organization. Diversification has its pros and cons where the leaders have to form a sustainable strategy to utilize the benefits of it and to neglect the negative aspects of it. However, it is a matter of perspective of how to identify and respect the differences as it is.


[1]    Chron. (2014) Advantages & Disadvantages of Diverse Workforce in an Organization; [online] available from <>; [Accessed: 09 May 2014]

[2]    Financial Times Lexicon. (2014) Definition of diverse teams; [online] available from <> [Accessed: 09 May 2014]

[3]    Human Resource Strategies. (2008) Employing a Diverse Workforce: Making it Work [online] available from <> p.26 [Accessed: 09 May 2014]

[4]    TED. (2014) Derek Sivers[online] available from <> [Accessed: 12 May 2014]

[5]    Tedex Project. (2010) The TEDxClassroomProject; [online] available from < >[Accessed: 12 May 2014]

[6]     Thomas, A.D (2004), ‘Diversity as Strategy’, Harvard Business Review. Boston: Harvard Business Review, [online] available from                 < >[Accessed: 09 May 2014]

[7]    Geert. (2014) THE HOFSTEDE CENTRE; [online] available from < > [Accessed: 09 May 2014]


By Vijay Sabarish